CMU provides touching tribute to Derrick Nash - WNEM TV 5

CMU provides touching tribute to Derrick Nash

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MT. PLEASANT, MI (WNEM) -

Chippewa Football excitement was not dampened by the rain.

But Thursday, the game on the gridiron was emotional.

The Chips took the field for the first time without Saginaw-native Derrick Nash, who died in June after a long battle with leukemia.

Long-time fan Lachlin MacGregor made a sign in hopes Nash's inspiration would carry on.

"Derrick definitely was, and still is, a big inspiration to this team," MacGregor said.

For their season opener, Nash's teammates made it clear – it has.

Nash's mother Decolia Monroe had a tough time holding back tears.

"The love is incredible. I thought I loved Derrick, but I have so many people who love Derrick. I love it, it's incredible," Monroe said.

She was asked by Coach John Bonameno, a cancer fighter himself, to lead the team in prayer.

For the first time, she saw the mural of her son painted in the locker room as a lasting tribute to no. 21.

"He deserved every bit of everything that's happening for him. He really did. He was a really good person. It just, it makes me very emotional," Monroe said.

It was emotional for the players as well.

Senior Stefon Armstead wore no. 21 in the game to honor and remember Nash.

No. 21 will be worn every game this season by the player who performs the best.

On Thursday Monroe watched as her son's legacy lives on. 

Her husband knew Nash was watching.

"The angel on the gridiron right now is number 21," said William Monroe.

Monroe has also started the Derrick Nash Strong Foundation. Donations will help finance parents so they can stay with a child in the hospital fighting an illness.

The website for the foundation will be live soon.

Copyright 2015 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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